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"Obviously not," Mr. Malfoy said. "Dear me, what's the use of being a disgrace to the name of wizard if they don't even pay you well for it?"

There was a thud of metal as Ginny's cauldron went flying; Mr. Weasley had thrown himself at Mr. Malfoy, knocking him backward into a bookshelf. Dozens of heavy spellbooks came thundering down on all their heads; there was a yell of, "Get him, Dad!" from Fred or George; Mrs. Weasley was shrieking, "No, Arthur, no!"; the crowd stampeded backward, knocking more shelves over; "Gentlemen, please - please!" cried the assistant, and then, louder than all

They had been in the locker room so long that the sun was up completely now, although remnants of mist hung over the grass in the stadium. As Harry walked onto the field, he saw Ron and Hermione sitting in the stands.

streamed in, circling the hall and dropping letters and packages into the chattering crowd. A big, lumpy package bounced off Neville's head and, a second later, something large and gray fell into Hermione's jug, spraying them all with milk and feathers.

"My dear friends," he said mournfully. "Welcome, welcome . . . so pleased you could come. . . ."


charging bull, sending him lurching sideways into Ron, just as an equally heavy blow hit the roof.


"Peskipiksi Pesternomi!"

The squat ghost of a girl had glided over. She had the glummest face Harry had ever seen, half-hidden behind lank hair and thick, pearly spectacles.

"What's that thing - hanging underneath?" said Ron, a slight quiver in his voice.


On and on it went, over three sides of paper, right down to:

And they both pretended not to notice the whining growing louder and louder as the sky became steadily darker. Stars were blossoming in the blackness. Harry pulled his sweater back on, try ing to ignore the way the windshield wipers were now waving fee bly, as though in protest. "Not far," said Ron, more to the car than to Harry, "not far now," and he patted the dashboard nervously. When they flew back beneath the clouds a little while later, they had to squint through the darkness for a landmark they knew. "There!" Harry shouted, making Ron and Hedwig jump. "Straight ahead!" Silhouetted on the dark horizon, high on the cliff over the lake, stood the many turrets and towers of Hogwarts castle. But the car had begun to shudder and was losing speed. "Come on," Ron said cajolingly, giving the steering wheel a lit tle shake, "nearly there, come on -" The engine groaned. Narrow jets of steam were issuing from un der the hood. Harry found himself gripping the edges of his seat very hard as they flew toward the lake. The car gave a nasty wobble. Glancing out of his window, Harry saw the smooth, black, glassy surface of the water, a mile below. Ron's knuckles were white on the steering wheel. The car wobbled again. "Come on," Ron muttered. They were over the lake - the castle was right ahead - Ron put his foot down. There was a loud clunk, a splutter, and the engine died com pletely.

"You have these," Harry mumbled to her, tipping the books into the cauldron. "I'll buy my own -"

Hermione's hand narrowly missed Harry's glasses as it shot up again.

"My subject is History of Magic," he said in his dry, wheezy voice. "I deal with facts, Miss Granger, not myths and legends." He cleared his throat with a small noise like chalk s!-ping and continued, "In September of that year, a subcommittee of Sardinian sorcerers


"What are you talking about, Harry? Perhaps you're getting a litde drowsy? Great Scott - look at the time! We've been here nearly four hours! Id never have believed it - the time's flown, hasn't it?"


"Not lost are you, my dear?" said a voice in his ear, making him jump.


The Slytherin team howled with laughter.


He glanced over his shoulder at the ancient tree, which was still flailing its branches threateningly.,


Peeves shot after her, pelting her with moldy peanuts, yelling, "Pimply!;